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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, October 6, 2018

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Charles Aznavour, French crooner and actorShirin Aliabadi, Iranian artist, photographed young rebellious Iranian womenDave Anderson, Pulitzer-winning sportswriterJeanne Ashworth, Olympic speedskaterHamiet Bluiett, baritone saxophonist of World Saxophone QuartetMontserrat Caballé, Spanish opera singerGeoff Emerick, Beatles' studio engineer, with Beatle Paul McCartneyWen C. Fong, scholar of Asian artRay Galton, right, with his TV writing partner Alan SimpsonJerry González, Latin jazz trumpeterWilliam H. Helfand, authority on history of medical quackeryAlfred Hubay, Metropolitan Opera usher who rose to box office managerJamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabian journalistDr. Herbert D. Kleber, authority on treatment for drug addictionWalter Laqueur, Holocaust survivor and historical scholarLeon Lederman, Nobel Prize-winning physicistIrving Like, Long Island environmental lawyerCindy R. Lobel, urban historianKarl Mildenberger, German boxer who lost to Muhammad Ali in 1966Donald E. Moore, former president of Brooklyn Botanic GardenDo Muoi, general secretary of Vietnamese Communist PartySonia Orbuch, Holocaust survivor who sabotaged NazisRobert Pitofsky, former FTC chairmanPeggy Sue Gerron Rackham, inspiration for Buddy Holly songJuan Romero, former hotel busboy who tried to help dying Sen. Robert F. KennedyFelix Smith, Cold War pilotWill Vinton, animator who invented ClaymationNatan Wekselbaum, founder of NYC's Gracious Home chainAudrey Wells, scriptwriter and film directorScott Wilson, actor on 'Walking Dead'

Art and Literature

Shirin Aliabadi (45) Iranian artist who photographed Iranian women navigating between their youthful, rebellious energy and the strictures of the Islamic Republic. Aliabadi’s best-known pieces were the photographic series Girls in Cars (2005) and Miss Hybrid (2008). Both series showed how young Iranian women adapted mandatory codes of dress and behavior to reflect their own individuality rather than be confined by them. The traditional hijab, or headscarf, was not a dark shroud but a colorful fashion accessory. Miss Hybrid shows various women wearing their hijabs but also revealing bleached blonde hair, a bandaged nose (a sign of plastic surgery, which in Iran is a status symbol), fake tans, earbuds, or bubble gum. Girls in Cars depicts the subjects riding around at night and ready to party. Aliabadi died of cancer in Tehran, Iran on October 1, 2018.

Wen C. Fong (88) scholar who helped the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to build one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Asian art. A leading figure in the history of Chinese art, Fong taught for 40 years at Princeton University, where in the ‘50s he established the nation’s first doctoral degree program in Chinese art and archaeology. Beginning in the early ‘70s, he was a driving force behind the Met’s effort to expand its collection of Asian art, including masterworks from China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and India, and to add space to display it. Fong counseled art collectors and philanthropists and persuaded the Met’s director at the time, Thomas Hoving, and the president of its board of trustees, financier C. Douglas Dillon, to acquire a trove of ancient and modern artworks from leading American collectors of Asian art. He died of leukemia in Princeton, New Jersey on October 3, 2018.


Business and Science

William H. Helfand (92) authority on the history of medical quackery who donated a substantial portion of his collection of quackery art and ephemera to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Helfand's collection covers topics such as the snake-oil salesmen and traveling medicine shows of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A Philadelphia native and retired pharmaceutical executive, Helfand donated more than 2,000 works to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he was a member of the Advisory Committee for Prints, Drawings, & Photographs from its formation in 1967 until 2014. He also donated approximately 1,000 books, pamphlets, and advertisements to the Library Company of Philadelphia. Helfand died from heart failure in Branford, Connecticut on October 2, 2018.

Dr. Herbert D. Kleber (84) would-be psychiatrist who became a reluctant specialist in treatment for drug addiction. As a newly minted doctor in 1964, Kleber fulfilled his military obligation by volunteering for the US Public Health Service and was assigned to the PHS Prison Hospital at Lexington, Kentucky, the notorious “narcotics farm,” a centralized prison and drug treatment center where thousands of drug users were incarcerated at one time or another, including actor Peter Lorre, jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, and Beat writer William S. Burroughs. Kleber was a pioneer in researching the pathology of addiction and in developing treatments to help patients reduce the severe discomforts of withdrawal, avoid relapse, and stay in recovery. He died of a heart attack on the island of Santorini while vacationing in Greece with his family, on October 5, 2018.

Leon Lederman (96) experimental physicist who won a Nobel Prize in physics for his work on subatomic particles and coined the phrase “God particle.” Lederman directed the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago from 1978–89. He was described as a giant in his field who also had a passion for sharing science, resulting in his book, The God Particle. The title refers to a subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, long theorized until a powerful European particle collider confirmed its existence. Lederman died in Rexburg, Idaho on October 3, 2018.

Donald E. Moore (90) oversaw the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as president during the ‘80s, when it doubled its indoor exhibit space and tripled its membership. Moore presided over the fund-raising design and construction of the Steinhardt Conservatory, part of a $30 million expansion project that included new greenhouses and classrooms, and the transformation of the 1914 McKim, Mead & White Beaux-Arts conservatory into the Palm House, a catering facility that has generated revenue to subsidize the garden’s operating expenses. The Steinhardt Conservatory, named for Wall Street investor Michael E. Steinhardt and his wife, Judy, who donated $3 million, is a 32,000-square-foot glass and steel complex composed of a central rectangular building for aquatic plants, bonsai, ferns, and other plants, and three octagonal ones that house tropical, temperate, and desert plants. It was completed in 1988. Moore tripled the garden’s membership to about 25,000 and developed the annual two-day Sakura Matsuri spring cherry blossom festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors to the garden. He died of complications from a fall, in Allentown, Pennsylvania on September 30, 2018.

Natan Wekselbaum (83) after being slighted as a struggling English speaker by two Manhattan retailers, Wekselbaum opened his own tiny hardware store and transformed it into an Upper East Side household goods emporium named Gracious Home. Wekselbaum and his brother, David Weck, who had both recently immigrated from Cuba, were the only employees of the store when it opened in 1963 in a cramped space. The store eventually spread to both sides of Third Avenue, between 70th and 71st Streets, as it gobbled up 40,000 square feet from one adjacent storefront after another. It opened several other Manhattan locations and came to stock some 175,000 items and add as many as 500 employees. After finding itself in financial straits because of overexpansion, the family lost control of the business in 2010, and Wekselbaum and his wife, who ran the bedding, bath, and linen shop, retired to Connecticut. Gracious Home is still operating under new ownership. Natan Wekselbaum died of kidney failure in New York City on October 3, 2018.


Education

Walter Laqueur (97) fled Nazi Germany as a teenager and, without a college degree, became a distinguished scholar of the Holocaust, the collapse of the Soviet Union, European decline, the Middle East conflict, and global terrorism. Laqueur was a prodigious author who spoke a half-dozen languages and wrote scores of books, novels, memoirs, and essays on geopolitics. While much of the world was basking in the breakdown of Soviet communism, Laqueur, whose London apartment overlooked Karl Marx’s grave, was predicting the emergence of “an authoritarian system based on some nationalist populism,” which was largely what happened, as he wrote 20 years later in Putinism: Russia & Its Future with the West. Laqueur died in Washington, DC on September 30, 2018.

Cindy R. Lobel (48) urban historian and professor at City University of New York whose research on the economic and social elements of life in 19th-century New York through food and eating was among the first of its kind. In 2003, inventive and locally sourced delicacies had become an American obsession. Bookstore shelves were filling up with popular treatises on the culture of food and eating. But few historians had researched the subject from an academic standpoint. Lobel published Urban Appetites: Food & Culture in 19th-Century New York (2014), which examined the way technology, consumerism, infrastructure, class, race, gender, public policy, and the market influenced what, where, and how New Yorkers ate in the 1800s. She died of breast cancer in New York City, one day after her 48th birthday, on October 2, 2018.


Law

Irving Like (93) environmental lawyer whose crusade over 25 years permanently shuttered the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island. Like, who was still practicing full-time when he died, also helped to preserve the Fire Island seashore, headed a lawyers’ group that won a $180 million settlement from chemical companies for Vietnam War veterans injured by the defoliant Agent Orange, and handled Suffolk County’s legal challenges to offshore oil drilling along the LI coast. He died of cardiac arrest in West Islip, Long Island, New York on October 3, 2018.


News and Entertainment

Charles Aznavour (94) French crooner and actor whose performing career spanned 80 years and who charmed fans around the world with his versatile tenor, lush lyrics, and dynamic stage presence. One of France’s most recognized faces, Aznavour sang to sold-out concert halls until the end, resorting to a prompter only after having written upward of 1,000 songs by his own estimate, including the classic “La Boheme.” Often compared to Frank Sinatra, Aznavour started his career as a songwriter for Edith Piaf. The French chanteuse took him under her wing. Like her, his fame ultimately reached well outside France: Aznavour was named entertainer of the 20th century in an online poll by CNN and Time magazine in 1999. He sold more than 180 million records. His movie credits include Francois Truffaut’s 1960 Tirez sur le Pianiste (Shoot the Pianist), Volker Schloendorff’s ‘79 Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum), and Atom Egoyan’s 2002 Ararat. Aznavour died in Mouriès, in southwestern France, on October 1, 2018.

Hamiet Bluiett (78) baritone saxophonist who expanded the possibilities of his instrument while connecting the jazz avant-garde with its own history. A central figure in jazz, primarily as a member of the renowned World Saxophone Quartet, Bluiett combined a physical command of the instrument with a passion for the full scope of the blues tradition. With a five-octave range, he could leap into registers that had been thought inaccessible on the baritone. The World Saxophone Quartet—a saxes-only ensemble that spun through a mix of styles, from gospel to free jazz—was among the most successful jazz groups of the late ‘70s and ’80s, touring constantly and eventually releasing five albums on a major label, Nonesuch, an Elektra subsidiary. Bluiett'shealth had deteriorated in recent years after a series of strokes and seizures. He died in Brooklyn, Illinois on October 4, 2018.

Montserrat Caballé (85) Spanish opera singer renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the roles of Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti. In her almost unlimited repertoire, Caballé starred in 90 opera roles with nearly 4,000 stage performances. She produced a highly acclaimed performance as Elisabetta of Valois in an all-star cast of Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Arena di Verona in 1969. That concert became famous for her “la” on the final “ah” at the very end of the opera, which lasted for more than 20 bars up, driving the audience wild with delight. Caballé was hospitalized in September because of a gallbladder problem. She died in Barcelona, Spain on October 6, 2018.

Geoff Emerick (72) Beatles studio engineer who entered the music business in his mid-teens and by his early 20s had helped to make history through his work on such landmark albums as Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. A London native fascinated by music and technology from an early age, Emerick wasn’t widely known to the general public, but he was an invaluable part of the Beatles’ legacy as they became increasingly ambitious and experimental in the studio and helped to transform rock music into an art form. He had suffered from heart problems in recent years. He collapsed and died in Los Angeles, California on October 2, 2018.

Ray Galton (88) cowriter of the landmark British comedy series Hancock’s Half Hour and Steptoe & Son. London-born Galton was diagnosed with life-threatening tuberculosis as a teenager. In a sanatorium he met another sick teen, Alan Simpson, and the pair became long-term writing partners. Galton and Simpson wrote Hancock’s Half Hour for popular postwar comedian Tony Hancock. Their biggest hit was Steptoe & Son, a sitcom about father-and-son junk dealers, which ran between 1962–74. US TV producer Norman Lear adapted it into the US sitcom Sanford & Son. Simpson died in 2017 at 87. Galton died of dementia in London, England on October 5, 2018.

Jerry González (69) trumpeter and percussionist, a central figure in Latin jazz, especially through the Fort Apache Band, which he formed almost 40 years ago with his bass-playing brother Andy. González spent time as a sideman for stars like trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and pianist Eddie Palmieri, but his greatest skill was weaving together musical styles and influences from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Africa, and more to create his own music. His 1989 album with Fort Apache, Rumba Para Monk, infused the compositions of Thelonious Monk with Afro-Cuban flavor. His album Ya Yo Me Curé (1979) includes a jazz riff on the theme from I Love Lucy. In Spain, where he moved in 2000, he began playing a lot of flamenco, fronting a band called Los Pirates del Flamenco. González was an innovator who, along with his brother, drummer Steve Berrios, and a few others, melded different strains of music into new sounds. He died in Madrid, Spain of smoke inhalation suffered during a fire at his home on October 1, 2018.

Alfred Hubay (93) usher who rose to house and box office manager at the Metropolitan Opera and along the way developed an ability to predict what ticket sales would be for individual shows and entire seasons. When Hubay retired in 1987, he had been box office manager for 25 years. It was a crucial period for the company, one that included its move from the old Metropolitan Opera House at Broadway and 39th Street to Lincoln Center in 1966. His job titles downplay Hubay's importance at the company. He did far more than oversee ticket sales. He became something of an expert on opera and opera singers, so much so that he was asked to judge singing and scholarship competitions and served on the boards of numerous musical organizations. He died in New York City on the 75th anniversary of his first day as a Met usher, October 3, 2018.

Jamal Khashoggi (59) Saudi Arabian journalist, author, and a former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel. Khashoggi also was an editor for the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al Watan, turning it into a platform for progressives. He fled that country in 2017 and went into self-imposed exile, and he later wrote newspaper articles critical of the Saudi government, most recently for the Washington Post. He had been sharply critical of the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, and the king, Salman of Saudi Arabia. He also opposed the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2 but did not leave the building. Amid news reports claiming that he had been killed and dismembered inside, an inspection of the consulate by Saudi Arabian and Turkish officials took place on October 15. At first the Saudi Arabian government denied the death, claiming Khashoggi had left the consulate alive, but on October 20 admitted that he was killed inside the consulate, claiming he had been accidentally strangled to death after a fight had broken out. That was later contradicted when, on October 25, Saudi Arabia’s attorney general admitted that the murder was premeditated. Khashoggi is believed to have died in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018.

Peggy Sue Gerron Rackham (78) Texas woman who inspired the 1957 Buddy Holly song “Peggy Sue.” In 2008, Peggy Sue Gerron released her autobiography, Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?: A Memoir by Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue. While promoting the memoir, she said material for it came from about 150 diary entries she made during the time she knew Holly. Gerron was born in Olton, Texas but moved to Lubbock, where she attended high school and met Holly and his friends. Holly was killed in a February 3, 1959 plane crash in Iowa that also killed Ritchie Valens and J. P. (“The Big Bopper”) Richardson. Peggy Sue Gerron Rackham died in Lubbock, Texas on October 1, 2018.

Will Vinton (70) Oscar-winning animator who invented Claymation, a style of stop-motion animation, and brought the California Raisins to TV. Vinton won an Oscar in 1975 for the animated short film Closed Mondays, then founded Vinton Studios in Portland in ‘76 and later won three Emmys as a producer. Stop-motion is a technique that requires animators to shoot puppets a single frame at a time, adjusting them slightly between frames to simulate movement. Claymation used putty or clay for a textured, somewhat cartoonish look. Vinton Studios was best known for the 1986 California Raisins ad campaign featuring Claymation raisins dancing to “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Vinton died of multiple myeloma in Portland, Oregon on October 4, 2018.

Audrey Wells (58) screenwriter and film director who wrote the screenplay for the brand new feature film The Hate U Give. Wells also wrote and directed the 2003 romantic comedy Under the Tuscan Sun. She had early jobs as a disc jockey and in public radio before making the transition to film. She wrote the screenplays for films like The Truth About Cats & Dogs, a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac tale starring Uma Thurman, and Shall We Dance, with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere. Wells made her directorial debut with the 1999 indie Guinevere, starring Sarah Polley as a young woman who has a relationship with an older mentor. Wells wrote the script for the critically acclaimed new film The Hate U Give, an adaptation of Angie Thomas’s young adult novel about a police shooting of a young black man. She died the day before the film was released after a five-year battle with cancer, on October 4, 2018.

Scott Wilson (76) actor who played murderer Richard Hickock in In Cold Blood (1967) and was a series regular on The Walking Dead. Wilson starred on the series from 2011–14. His return for the upcoming season was announced just hours earlier; he had already filmed his scenes for season 9. In the same year as Wilson’s breakthrough in In Cold Blood, he also played murder suspect Harvey Oberst in In the Heat of the Night. He appeared in The Great Gatsby (1974) as George Wilson and in The Right Stuff as pilot Scott Crossfield and earned a Golden Globe nomination in 1980 for his performance in The Ninth Configuration, in which he played a former astronaut. Wilson reportedly suffered from leukemia and died in Los Angeles, California on October 6, 2018.


Politics and Military

Do Muoi (101) former general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam who worked against the French colonial government and became a committed Communist. Born in the suburban district of Thanh Tri in Hanoi in 1917, Muoi participated in an anti-French movement in ‘36 and joined the Communist Party of Indochina, the former Communist Party of Vietnam, in ’39. He was arrested by the French colonial government in 1941 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He escaped from prison before the uprising in 1945 under which President Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France. Muoi rose through the ranks in the party and government. He was elected to the all-powerful Politburo in 1982 and was appointed prime minister in ’88. He was head of the Communist Party for more than six years before stepping down in 1997. Muoi had lung and kidney problems. He was hospitalized nearly six months ago after having fever and breathing difficulties and died in Hanoi, Vietnam on October 1, 2018.

Sonia Orbuch (93) survived the Holocaust as a teenager in eastern Europe by joining a resistance group that was sabotaging the Nazis. Born in the eastern Polish town of Luboml, Orbuch was 16 when German forces took over the area in 1941 and began killing Jews. Her family fled to nearby forests and hid there for the winter. In the spring they joined a group of Soviet soldiers and civilians who targeted Nazi troops by blowing up trains, ambushing convoys, and sniping at outposts. Sonia learned to tend to the wounded, kept watch, and went on raids. She always carried two grenades—one for the Nazis and one for herself because she did not want to be taken alive. She moved to the US after the war and became an author and a lecturer, helping to found the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, which honors the memory of the 20,000–30,000 Jews who fought in resistance groups in World War II. Orbuch died in Corte Madera, California on September 30, 2018.

Robert Pitofsky (88) chairman of the Federal Trade Commission in the Clinton administration who advocated stricter enforcement of competition and greater protection for consumers. Pitofsky was a leading figure in competition law. An antitrust scholar and a former dean of the Georgetown University law school, he wove in and out of government, private law practice, and academia over his career. As FTC chairman, he sought to block nearly a dozen mergers, including that of the office-supply retailers Staples and Office Depot. The companies tried to merge again in 2015 but were again blocked. Pitofsky died of Alzheimer’s disease in Chevy Chase, Maryland on October 6, 2018.

Felix Smith (100) pilot for a Chinese Nationalist airline that flew covert missions over Asia for the American government during the early days of the Cold War. Civil Air Transport, later run by the Central Intelligence Agency, was a back-channel carrier assembled in 1946 by former Lt. Gen. Claire L. Chennault of the Army Air Forces using surplus World War II planes and a supply and maintenance ship and recruiting pilots from the Flying Tigers, a volunteer WWII unit famed for its exploits in the skies over China. Smith's memoir, China Pilot: Flying for Chennault During the Cold War (1995), tells how the airline’s aim was to undergird Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in the protracted civil war against the Communists. The airline’s façade as a civilian commercial enterprise concealed Washington’s support for Chiang and for the mass evacuation of his followers from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan after he was defeated in 1949. Smith died of pneumonia in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the day before a reunion of fellow surviving members of Civil Air Transport, on October 3, 2018.


Society and Religion

Juan Romero (68) hotel busboy who came to the aid of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy when he was shot in Los Angeles in 1968. Romero was a teenage busboy working in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968 when Kennedy, moments after giving a victory speech in the California Democrat primary, came walking through and was shot in the head by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian who is still serving a life sentence at age 74. Romero rushed to Kennedy and held him as he lay on the floor mortally wounded. Romero later said he had struggled to keep the senator's head from hitting the floor. The moment, captured on film, haunted him for years. He died of a heart attack in Modesto, California on October 1, 2018.


Sports

Dave Anderson (89) sportswriter whose descriptive prose won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary as a columnist for the New York Times. Anderson worked at the newspaper from 1966–2007. An expert on baseball, the NFL, boxing, and golf, he wrote 21 books, received the 1994 Red Smith Award for outstanding contributions to sports journalism from the Associated Press Sports Editors, and was inducted into the National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Hall of Fame in ’90. He was known for his warmth to friends and strangers alike and his unflagging politeness. Anderson died in Cresskill, New Jersey on October 4, 2018.

Jeanne Ashworth (80) US speedskater who won a bronze medal in the 500-meter race at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. Ashworth was in the first group of women to compete in speedskating at any Olympics. She was the only American woman to win a speedskating medal at Squaw Valley and helped to move women toward an equal footing with men in speedskating. The sport had been an all-male domain since it was introduced at the 1924 Winter Games in Chamonix, France. Women’s speedskating had been given so-called demonstration sport status at the 1932 Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York, but those results did not count. Ashworth later worked as a high school teacher and speedskating coach. She died of pancreatic cancer in Wilmington, New York, near Lake Placid, on October 4, 2018.

Karl Mildenberger (80) top German boxer whose most notable fight was a 12th-round loss in 1966 to Muhammad Ali (died 2016) for the world heavyweight title. Mildenberger had been European heavyweight champion for almost two years when he signed to face Ali at Waldstadion in Frankfurt on September 10, 1966. Ali had won the world heavyweight title in 1964 against Sonny Liston in Miami Beach and defended it successfully against five opponents, including Liston in a rematch. Mildenberger was a heavy underdog to Ali, whose hand speed and deftness at avoiding punches were at their peak. Mildenberger believed that as a rare left-handed boxer—meaning he threw his jab and hook with his right hand—he would pose an awkward challenge by forcing Ali to adjust to him. He also built up his speed and quickness by training against light heavyweights. He died in Kaiserslautern, in southwest Germany, on October 5, 2018.


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